Kathryn Mishell was born in Los Angeles, where she received her early musical training. Her college and graduate work were done at Pomona College, The University of Kansas, and the University of Southern California. During these years she was a piano student of John Perry and a composition student of John Pozdro and then Ingolf Dahl.
Ms. Mishell’s works include over a hundred piano pieces, ensemble and orchestral works, and music for chorus, dance and theatre. She is the recipient of the 2011 Sylvia Glickman Prize from the International Alliance of Women in Music for her Piano Quartet. Rhapsody for Cello and Piano, composed in the summer of 2011, was played in Carnegie Hall on January 7, 2012 by the cellist Douglas Harvey and Eduard Laurel, pianist. Mishell has participated in the Women's Philharmonic New Music Reading Sessions, the Society of Composers National Conference, and has been guest composer at the University of Texas at Austin. She is one of two women composers honored by the National League of American Pen Women in 1996. She was the 1997 commissioned composer of the Texas Music Teachers Association, and has received ASCAP awards for the past several years. Commissions include chamber works for Trio Contraste, Chamber Soloists of Austin, the Arundel Trio, Pacific Serenades of Los Angeles, and Musiques en Euroreígion. She was Composer-in Residence for Austin Lyric Opera’s Armstrong Community Music School. Her published collections of pieces for piano students have sold thousands of copies nationwide. In 2014, she began a successful venture writing for film and television.
Ms. Mishell produced and hosted Into the Light, a weekly radio program devoted to the music of women composers, for ten and a half years. Produced at KMFA, the fine arts station in Austin, it won three Gracie awards for outstanding work in biography for public radio, as well as two international Communicator Awards of Distinction for excellence in broadcasting. This project extended into the concert world as Ms. Mishell produced, lectured, and performed Into the Light, live for audiences. The hundreds of hours of broadcasts of the work of women composers with Ms. Mishell's commentary are available for broadcast throughout the world. (For more information and audio, please visit http://www.intothelightradio.org)
As pianist, Ms. Mishell has performed extensively in the U.S. and Mexico as a soloist and in chamber music. She has been touring pianist for the Sharir Dance Company, and for the music dramas Paganini! and Heroes and Lovers, for which she wrote the incidental music. She is a regular performer on Salon Concerts in Austin.
A teacher of many award-winning young pianists, Ms. Mishell has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has acted as clinician, adjudicator, and as consultant in the use of computers in music instruction. She maintains a class of private piano students in Austin, where she has twice been awarded the Outstanding Pre-collegiate Teaching Award.
In 2008, Ms. Mishell assumed the position of Artistic Director of Salon Concerts, presenting the finest chamber musicians in concerts in intimate settings. Its educational arm is CHAMPS, whose mission statement is to promote the playing and teaching of chamber music in the public schools. Now in its twenty-seventh season, she was a founding board member.
(title, year, duration, publisher)
Unpublished works are housed at the Fine Arts Library, The University of Texas at Austin. They are also available from the composer.
Music for Dance
Student Piano Books
Kathryn Mishell: Musical Voyages
Mishell likes to confound expectations, steering the dissonant fugue of the opening movement toward compassionate lyricism before heading back into a storm, or having the lovely Romanticized rhetoric of the slow movement turn bleak with a shivering wind of tremolos.
Kathryn Mishell's music runs the gamut from simple to complex - often in the same piece - and always with both heart and skill.